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Police have released new details on the September 4 attacks. Photo provided by RCMP.

RCMP: Myles Sanderson responsible for 11 deaths in new timeline

By Ryan Forbes Apr 28, 2023 | 10:02 AM

The RCMP says Myles Sanderson was the lone culprit behind one of the deadliest massacres in Canadian history, as he and his brother Damien were said to have killed 11 people in September, 2022.

The attacks took place in James Smith Cree First Nation and Weldon, SK – about 30 km away.

Now, police say Damien was likely Myles’ first killing and the remainder of their crimes were committed solo – after Saskatchewan RCMP released a new timeline of the massacre on Thursday.

Police did not reveal any motive behind the attacks.

The RCMP’s timeline begins three days prior to the attacks on September 1, as 32-year-old Myles Sanderson was said to have travelled to the James Smith Cree Nation community to distribute cocaine with an adult female.

Photo courtesy of the RCMP.

By September 2, that female was said to have been seriously assaulted by Myles – who then met up with his 31-year-old brother Damien, as the two continued to distribute cocaine in the area.

During the following night, the two brothers allegedly fought with an adult male, believed to be drug-related, but no weapons were involved and no one was seriously injured.

By 4 a.m. that morning on September 3, RCMP in Melfort received a report that Damien Sanderson stole a vehicle on James Smith Cree First Nation and he may be impaired. Two officers from Melfort responded by 4:15 a.m. and found the vehicle at a residence by 5:30 a.m.

Investigation later revealed Damien was inside the home while it was being searched by officers, but he provided police with a different name from the community and police did not have an updated picture of Damien, so no arrest was made.

By 5 p.m. on September 3, Damien and Myles went to another residence and assaulted Gregory Burns, before separating for several hours. Damien went to a local bar in Kinistino, while Myles remained on James Smith Cree Nation.

The two met up again by midnight and assaulted a second male at a third residence. The RCMP note outside of the vehicle theft, these incidents were not reported to police.

September 4 is when the killings began.

At 3:30 a.m., Myles and Damien stole a grey 2006 Dodge Caravan, made a drug deal and left the James Smith community by 5 a.m.

By 5:30 a.m., the two brothers forcibly entered a residence on North Road in search of an adult female, who wasn’t home. The two then forced their way into a second home in the area, attacking an adult male with a machete.

The RCMP say this is when Damien was killed by his brother Myles.

After Myles and Damien departed the second residence, the RCMP say there was an altercation between them and Damien fled into a nearby brush area, where he was found deceased on September 5.

Afterwards, Myles began his rampage back in the James Smith community, attacking nearly 20 people between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m.

Myles’ first victim was Robert Sanderson, with two others injured. Minutes later he attacked two others and killed Christian and Lana Head, before stealing a white 2004 Fort truck.

Sanderson is then said to have attacked another two people before moving on to another residence, attacking two youths and killing Bonnie Burns and Gregory Burns.

Myles then stole a third vehicle, a white 2011 GMC Terrain, and went on to attack another female and kill Earl Burns.

By 6:30 a.m., Myles attacked Thomas Burns, Carol Burns and six more adults, before stealing a red Dodge Caravan.

He had stolen a back 2016 Nissan rogue by 6:45 a.m. after attacking Lydia Gloria Burns and two other adults.

At 7 a.m. Myles had driven to the Kinistino community and attacked to Wesley Petterson by 8 a.m. By this point, an Emergency Alert had been broadcast throughout the province to warn residents in the area.

Hundreds of tip sightings of the two brothers came to the RCMP in the following minutes and hours, but police didn’t find Myles until the afternoon of September 7.

Sanderson is said to have approached a house in the Crystal Springs area in the early afternoon, taking a cell-phone and a white 2008 Chevy – the sixth vehicle he had used for his crimes.

At 2:30 p.m., he was seen leaving One Arrow First Nation at a high rate of speed and another Emergency Alert was broadcast to warn the public.

At 3:15 p.m., an RCMP officer in an unmarked cruiser located the suspect vehicle and all RCMP resources responded to the scene, which caused a pursuit.

Officers were able to direct the vehicle off the road into a nearby ditch, when Myles was removed and placed under arrest.

That’s when police say Myles began displying signs of medical distress and first aid was provided. He was then transported to a local hospital where he was declared deceased.

In all, Myles had killed 11 and physically injured 17, impacting countless others across the country.

The RCMP say information from 42 different crime scenes and over 250 witness interviews helped create their timeline, which was shared with survivors prior to their press conference.

Photo courtesy of the RCMP.

Investigations into the attacks will continue under the RCMP, Saskatchewan Coroners Service, Saskatoon Police Service and the Saskatchewan Serious Incident Response Team.

The 11 lives lost include:

Thomas Burns
Carol Burns
Gregory Burns
Lydia Gloria Burns
Bonnie Burns
Earl Burns
Lana Head
Christian Head
Robert Sanderson
Wesley Petterson
Damien Sanderson


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